Steps to your Doctorate – Pilot Programs

uAchieve pilot

If your department is participating in a pilot program with a new process for degree completion, you will use the following guide. Please remain in regular contact with your program as you progress through the steps outlined below  

Review all the steps in the following guide during an initial meeting with your department advisor, and/or program coordinator. Subsequent meetings are normally necessary as you progress to degree completion. Advisors, departments, and programs may also have additions or modifications to this guide.   

Step 1 - Register for classes 

As a graduate student, you must be registered every fall and spring semester in a credit-bearing course or enrolled in continuous registration (CR). If you are graduating in the summer term, registration is required in a course or CR is required. Please review the Continuous Registration and Graduation Enrollment Policies page for additional information.   

(As a resident instruction/on campus student, you will indicate your anticipated graduation date in RegReady when registering for courses. The anticipated graduation date is used by units such as the Office of Financial aid. Follow the instructions in step 7 when you are ready to apply to graduate.)  

Step 2 - Select your advisor and committee 

Choose your faculty advisor and your committee members in consultation with your department before completing the GS5 Program of Study. Your committee composition must meet Graduate School requirements, as described on the Graduate School requirements webpage.  

Step 3 – Fill out your GS5 Committee Formation form 

Before completing the GS5, it is necessary to consult with your department about deadlines and any department specific requirements.   

The GS5 Committee Formation form identifies and lists the members of your committee.  

The GS5 must be submitted to the Graduate School before or during your third semester — completing it as early as possible is to your benefit. Visit our Forms page for more details and check with your department for the deadline for completing the form.  

If you need to change from one department or program to another, and/or from one degree to another, visit our Forms page for details about submitting at GS7 Request for Change of Department and/or Degree Program form. 

Step 4 – Take your preliminary exam 

An exam determines whether a candidate is qualified to continue toward the doctorate. The exam must be completed at least two semesters prior to the doctorate candidate’s final examination/defense.  

The GS16 Preliminary Exam form is signed by members of a doctorate candidate’s committee after the student has completed their preliminary examination.  


Step 5 – Review dissertation formatting guidelines

Prior to starting your dissertation, please review the formatting guidelines for resources and requirements. 

Step 6 – Review committee  

Review your committee in your Graduate Degree Plan in RAMweb to ensure it is current. 

The GS9A Petition for Committee Member Changes form records any changes that have been made to your committee since your GS5 Committee Formation form was approved by the Graduate School.  

You may change your advisor or committee member(s) after your GS5 Committee Formation form has been approved by the Graduate School.  

Step 7 – Complete the application to apply to graduate

To apply or reapply to graduate, you must submit the GS25 Application for Graduation form to the Graduate School by the academic deadline date of the semester that you intend to graduate. Academic deadline dates are published at: 

The GS25 records:  

  • the term you intend to complete your degree requirements  
  • how you want your name printed on your diploma  

Access the GS25 in RAMweb. You will complete the required information in RAMweb and submit the digital form with all required signatures to the Graduate School. Review the GS25 Application for Graduation page and Forms page for additional details.   

Regularly review your Graduate Degree Plan with your advisor for any course requirements, discrepancy grades that need to be addressed, any non-course requirements that need to be satisfied and any other discrepancy. 


Step 8 – Take your final examination/defense

A final exam is required for all doctoral candidates and must be completed by the academic deadline date of the semester that you intend to complete your degree requirements.   

The GS24 Final Exam Results form must be signed by members of your committee after you have completed the final examination/defense. View additional procedures and information. The GS24 form must be submitted to the Graduate School within two working days after the results of the examination are known, and by the academic deadline date of the semester that you intend to graduate. All committee member signatures must meet the deadline for submission of the digital form to the Graduate School.  

Step 9 – Complete your dissertation submission form

The GS30 Thesis/Dissertation Submission form is signed by the members of your committee when your dissertation is approved and ready for electronic submission. The GS30 must be submitted to the Graduate School by the academic Deadline Date of the semester that you intend to graduate   

Doctoral students must also submit a Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) Certificate.  

Forms must be submitted to the Graduate School by the academic deadline date of the semester that you intend to graduate.

Optional embargo request 

The GS30 includes an optional Embargo Restriction Request for students requesting to delay public release of their dissertation, usually due to a pending patent or publication.  


Step 10 – Submit your dissertation electronically through ProQuest/UMI

As you write your dissertation, review the Thesis and Dissertation resources on our website.   

Submit your dissertation electronically to ProQuest/UMI. Your document must be approved for formatting prior to the academic deadline date of the semester that you intend to graduate. You may have required formatting corrections in your document, so we recommended submitting it in advance of the academic deadline date.   

Step 11 – Attend the Graduate School Commencement ceremony   

We invite you to celebrate your achievements at the Graduate School Commencement Ceremony. The Ceremonies are held each spring and fall semester (a ceremony is not held in the summer semester). You may attend either the fall or spring ceremony to accommodate your schedule or as you work to finish your degree requirements. Details are published on the Commencement page. We look forward to celebrating with you!  

Step 12 – Order transcripts and receive your diploma from the Office of the Registrar 

The Office of the Registrar will assist you with ordering transcripts and mailing your diploma.


  • Your awarded degree will be printed on your transcript.
  • Available approximately two weeks after the end of the semester. For assistance ordering your transcripts, please contact the Registrar’s office at or call (970) 491-4860 with questions.


  • Mailed by the Register’s Office to the address provided on your student record approximately eight weeks after the end of the semester.
  • For questions regarding diplomas, certified copies, notarizations or diploma covers, please email the or call (970) 491-4860.